Fixing a chip evacuation problem on the Pocket NC

My Pocket NC v2-50 is a fine machine for its size class, but there are still plenty of annoyances. One of them is that chips can accumulate places they shouldn’t, either during a run, or over the long term.

There is a cavity near the back of the machine where the Y axis cables and cable guide retract into. That cavity is exposed to chips flying around, so they tend to accumulate there. There is a hole in the bottom of the machine where the chips could maybe fall out, except the hole is too small for any but the smallest of chips, and further, it is completely sealed off when mounted in the stock Pocket NC enclosure.

Basically every time I’ve taken the machine out of the enclosure, I’ve found that cavity so packed with chips that you wouldn’t think the cables could even more anymore. That is even with a thorough vacuuming after every part and often every operation. Plus the Y axis cables are just ethernet cables, which means once you unplug them, those chips can easily fill the RJ45 jacks.

While replacing a failed cable chain, the always responsive Pocket NC support team mentioned that some customers had machined an extra hole in the back of the housing to allow for cleaning that cavity out. Why didn’t I think of that! I did mine with a hand drill and dremel, assuming it would be faster than either disassembling the entire machine or fixturing it assembled into a manual mill. While that was probably true, it was still a painful process.

Despite the pain and the unpolished finish, the end result seems like it will have the desired effect.